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...: Marsh Chatter

A parent passing on...

My Dad had been for many years watching the Obituaries in his hometown papers and locally. He passed along information on family friends, as they appeared. In 2004, I was preparing to help manage my high school reunion and he began to find possible classmates listed and that started me scanning the Obits as I read the paper (newspaper reading is a family tradition passed down from my Dad's Dad).

Initially, I just scanned the names for something familiar. Occasionally, I read some of the interesting stories - the young people, the young mom's stricken with cancer, etc. I once found that the parents of the family that lived in the house behind us, both died on the same day. After contacting close friends, I found that they died in a car accident near their retirement community.

Today, I read the Obit for my Dad...

I helped in crafting that Obit, but seeing it in the paper somehow made it more official. We don't want to see it there, but we know it has to be there, so that others will also know of his passing.

Occasionally, tragedy has parents burying a child, but during the normal course of our lives we expect to reach a point where the children lay their parents to rest. This week is that time for my family.

It is not our first, as our Mom passed during the summer of 1999. As of last Saturday evening, it is now just the 6 of us. No parents left to host holiday gatherings, no phone calls, no birthday cards... none of those 'constants' in our lives. Many families lose parents early in their lives. We were lucky, as a family, because we had those constants.

My brothers & sisters are different, we've had our moments - growing up and even now, but all in all we are a close bunch willing to help out when needed, and even occasionally 'just because'. Each of us had different bonds with each of our parents, which of course affects our time of sorrow - but not our love for our parents, nor each other.

Enjoy your days - you really do not know which is your last hour. Make each valuable to those around you. Don't let stupid things get in the way of good times with your family. Distribute the proper amount of hugs.

If you're interested in info about my Dad... I have his Obit available on my family website home page for about the next month or so. See John J. Burns Jr.